On the second day of NFL free agency, the Chicago Bears re-signed another one of their own in special teams standout Sherrick McManis on a two-year deal Thursday. McManis reportedly turned down offers from both Jacksonville and New England, according to the Tribune accepting a deal worth $2.85 million ($750,000 guaranteed) with the Bears.
He becomes the fourth free agent to return to the Bears joining cornerback Tracy Porter, running back Jacquizz Rodgers and tackle Nick Becton. In total, the Bears have agreed to deals with six players so far with new faces in linebacker Danny Trevathan and tackle Bobby Massie signing with the team on Wednesday as well.
McManis, 28, had a team-high 17 tackles on special teams last season. Also, the Northwestern product totaled a career-best 29 tackles on defense in 16 games with four starts at slot corner. He averaged 41 snaps over the first six games of the season, but went back to his normal role on the third phase under new Bears' special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers.
After being exposed in coverage badly, the Bears turned to undrafted rookie Bryce Callahan. Callahan fared much better than McManis who was a liability in coverage all season long. So, the Bears put him back to his full-time role on special teams where he's made 55 stops over the last four seasons.
At 6'1", 197 lbs, the 2010 fifth-round pick enters his seventh NFL season after coming to the Bears via trade in 2012 from Houston. The Bears did it right by bringing him back to cover kicks and punts on special teams where he excels. They learned there lesson after letting special team aces Blake Costanzo, Eric Weems and Craig Steltz go over the past few off-seasons.
For what it's worth, McManis ranked 104th overall out of 114 total cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus in 2015. He had an overall rating of 38.3 finishing last among the five Bears corners who played a season ago. He played the 17th most snaps on defense with 296 (28.7 percent) and a career-high 278 special teams snaps.
As long as the Bears don't end up using him on defense, then this is a solid signing. He has a knack of making a good tackle on special teams and he can focus on getting better at his craft. Penalties were a key for him, so he can aim to improve on lowering those numbers. The Bears need continuity on the third phase and McManis's return sets them up for relative success this upcoming season. Wide receiver Josh Bellamy was tendered last week, so he returns to help out on special teams as well.
More to come on free agency as news break.
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